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The Bells of St. Clement’s | Jan-Peter de Graaff (excerpt, live at NTR Radio4)

Excerpt from Ist part – Oranges and Lemons performed live at the Dutch national Radio4, NPO

Commissioned in 2018 for the IInd edition of The Dutch Golden Collection with support of Gaudeamus Muziekweek and Fonds Podiumkunsten.

The full album The Collectors is available at the label TRPTK, ​Spotify, iTunes, YouTube.

Percussion – Konstantyn Napolov | Adams percussion instruments, Zildjian Cymbals and Mike Balter Mallets

Piano – Eke Simons

On the Dutch Golden Collection Foundation website, you can find more information about the projects and composers.

ABOUT THE WORK – The Bells of St. Clement’s is a work in three movements based on the English Nursery Rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” (Say the bells of St. Clement’s). This nursery rhyme plays an important role in the novel ”’1984” by George Orwell. In it, the nursery rhyme is a symbol of the notion that the promise of freedom in a totalitarian society might be another form of oppression, where hope is a terrible illusion. In the piece, the musical material tries to escape from a mechanical form to a more fluent, almost impressionistic mood. In the first movement in melody, in the second movement in rhythm and in the third movement in harmony, but the pulse in the end stays and takes over and becomes more and more dominant, destroying the beauty and atmosphere.

ABOUT THE COMPOSER: Jan-Peter de Graaff (*1992), born in Papendrecht and raised on the isle of Terschelling, started composing at the age of 15. After two years of private lessons with Klaas ten Holt, De Graaff studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague from 2010 (BMus 2014, MMus, 2016), where his teachers included Guus Janssen, Diderik Wagenaar, Calliope Tsoupaki and Kenneth Hesketh (Erasmus at Royal College of Music London, 2015). During his composition studies, he studied orchestral conducting with Alex Schillings and Jos Vermunt as a minor subject. Many of his compositions are recognised by a great amount of transparency and use of colour in harmony, structure and orchestration, with an important focus on rhythmic and melodic development, often paired with theatrical elements and/or unusual instruments. De Graaff’s works are influenced by a great range of composers both from (mostly) Russian and French music traditions next to influences from various other music traditions ranging from jazz, tango to folk music.


De Graaff’s oeuvre includes now over 30 works for various instrumentations, from solo and chamber music (both instrumental and vocal) to works for orchestra and two operas. Recently, De Graaff has been commissioned by, among others NTR Zaterdagmatinee, Gaudeamus Music Week and Asko|Schönberg Ensemble.